I recently discovered the MIT podcast archive which is well worth browsing and listening to while working in the studio. The program is cast monthly and usually contains an interview with one of their authors.
October 9, 2007
July 13, 2007
Last night was a stimulating evening in Second Life as, the Australia Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), hosted an in-world forum with Paris-based artist and architect Brad Kligerman. The event was moderated by ABC’s Sunday Arts reporter/producer Fenella Kernebone
The event went off generally well. I always approach these ‘firsts’ knowing that since the technology is new the whole thing may just fall in a heap! Well I am pleased to say that as Brad presented his work and discussed his ideas the technology did not fail. (There were a few problems with some slides but that was it)
My problem was that my sound kept dropping in and out or was of such bad quality that I could barely make out what was being said. It was incredibly frustrating to be listening to some key concept to have the sound disappear on me! Brad, is an architect and teacher, who is one of the first artists in Second Life to complete an in-world 11-week residency with US-based Ars Virtua, where he questioned the concept of materiality in the rendered environment in other words the nature of residence, residency and representation. It was a frustratingly interesting talk. We were told a vodcast of the event will also be available on the ABC Sunday Arts website but I hope a transcript will be published somewhere soon!
July 12, 2007
A few weeks ago I mentioned I was like a hyperactive kid bounding from one 3D representation to another of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings in Virtual Starry Night. A couple of more paintings are now in 3D form in Second Life so my avatar paid a visit last night. I get a real kick out of wandering about inside the paintings as there is an unexpected sense of presence in Second Life that people do not understand unless they have tried it. As a newbie to this world I am still thinking through many of the issues but I sure am enjoying myself!
The SLURL for Virtual Starry Night is http://slurl.com/secondlife/luctesa/113/201/66
July 10, 2007
On 12 July, the Australia Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), will host its first ever artist in-world forum in Second Life . The event will be moderated by ABC’s Sunday Arts reporter/producer Fenella Kernebone and takes place at 7pm (EST) on ABC Island. You need to register to attend. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org with your Second Life in-world name.
Paris-based artist and architect Brad Kligerman will present his work, discuss ideas and answer participants’ questions. Brad, is an architect and teacher, who is one of the first artists in Second Life to complete an in-world 11-week residency with US-based Ars Virtua, where he questioned the idea of materiality in the rendered environment and the nature of image.
A vodcast of the event will also be available on the ABC Sunday Arts website.
The Australia Council has also set up an artist’s forum in Second Life for artists looking for other artists with whom to collaborate. The moderated artists forum can be found at ABC Island and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Island.
The Australian Council for the Arts is offering an artistic residency and grant of up to $20,000 to collaborative artists to create a project in Second Life . It is open to Australian artists who are interested in developing their ideas in this virtual world. Applications close on 27 July 2007. Details are on the Australian Council for the Arts in the Inter-Arts: Grants: Second Life Artist Residency section of the site.
The Second Life artist residency is an initiative of the Literature Board, Music Board and Inter-Arts Office of the Australia Council.
The residency is ‘in-world’ and requires artists and writers to explore the possibilities of inter-disciplinary literary, music/sound art and digital visual media practices.
The successful team will develop new artistic in-world practices and comment on the social and cultural layers that have evolved in Second Life.
Key requirements of the project are a clear strategy for harnessing both in-world and ‘real life’ audiences and developing public exhibition opportunities for the artwork in Australia.
June 26, 2007
This guy is using tables in html to draw an image. Not the way html is supposed to be used but crazy, quirky and amusing in a geeky sort of way.
June 15, 2007
Recently G Riedelbauch of virtualterritory pointed ot a really interesting interface design. The BumpTop 3D Desktop . While some might cringe at the idea of sorting documents as you would on a real desktop I like the idea as users are not asked to adapt their working processes to the technology but the technology is shaped to the user, In other words how humans already think and work.
June 6, 2007
I have been having fun with textorizer. It is an online image generator which takes an image and creates an image out of text. To use it you simply type in the URL of an image you have online (like one in your flickr account) and add some words in the text box and an image is from the text is generated.
I added a lot more strokes (2000) and set the threshold at 10 to generate the image above from this one.
There is a flicker textorized group which shares their image results
I think this type of image could be further developed and enhanced if taken into Photoshop and worked further. In the image below removed the white background and I changed the layer blend mode and that was all.
Below is a sample in which I used a small, low resolution image, picked at random from my flickr account. It is possibly not the best example to demonstrate the idea but I am sure if I used a larger image with greater contrast I would get better results. So I have made a mental note to ‘play’ with this online tool further as it could produce some interesting combinations of image and typography. It’s just a pity I could not play with the fonts too!
May 26, 2007
“Live to be outstanding.” Geert Lovink exhorts in his piece Fragments on New Media Arts and Science . I was tired, I was trying to clean up my hard drive of bookmark files and I did not feel outstanding.
My eyes scanned the text quickly “The Situationist critique of the ‘spectacle’ has worn out.” Yes, I nod, still brain dead from reading too many theory articles.
“Audiences are no longer looking for empty entertainment; they need help. Art has to motivate, not question but assist.”
My brain clicked out neutral and into gear Geert Lovink’s piece was written in 2003 and the state of New media arts are neatly summarised
“What in positive terms could be described as the heroic fight for the establishment of a self-referential ‘new media arts system’ through a frantic differentiation of works, concepts and traditions, may as well be classified as a dead-end street.”
Lovink points out that in a networked society the situation has to change. Has it? I am not sure it has. I have encountered many projects that come out of arts institutions who like to portray themselves as being at the forefront of technological development, but many of these unfortunately can be described as thin on conceptual development and far from relevant in the lives of anyone who encounters them. These pieces still speak to a subculture and do not it seems to me have a roll in some ones lived life. Rarely do I think of them again – as works they do not touch me, I have a neutral response. I look for it but as objects they do not texture my life.
I sat back for moment, thought about the ‘new media arts’ that I had looked at recently and I realized that much of what I had been thinking about were objects discovered as I explore in Second Life.
I am very much a newbie in this virtual world but littered throughout the sims on Second Life are ‘sculptures’ many of these virtual objects simply reside in the landscape.
At first I set about exploring 3D sculptures or installations that allow interaction and employ animation or audio. In other words I was looking for ‘new media’ but as I explored the world I found myself quickly puzzling over these objects that did not light up, morph, twinkle, move, were textured in strange ways, display movies, make my avatar dance, play music, spin me around or disorientate me in some manner.
The objects that I was thinking about, the objects that I constantly encountered were performing a role that was decorative. I had dismissed them as they were not ‘playful’ or experimental in the sense that they explored the technology to the limit. They were simply decorative objects in the landscape.
To say an object is pure decoration is an insult of the highest order but it is these ‘decorations’ contribute to a visitors experience by adding atmosphere to sims. They, along with the objects in the landscape such as trees, flowers, birds, lakes, waterfalls, etc texture the experience in this virtual land. Since they enhance the experience of Second Life they hold a meaning which is more than pure decoration.
In other words I realised that the role these 3D sculptures performed, rather than those objects that could be classified as ‘new media’, were not to be dismissed so easily. So mouse ready to right click at an instant I started looking a little closer. In Second life you can click on an object and get more information and read a profile of the creator. To my dismay many of the creators of these objects had not taken writing a description of who they were and what did very seriously at all! As someone who is trained and teaches in an arts institution that sure put my nose out of joint – after having a little huffy I reconsidered…
These sculpted objects were made for fun and to develop skills, and put in a public place for all to enjoy and that was it. It quickly became obvious, that in their making there was no thought about theory or positioning themselves as artists within contemporary arts practice. In world, these people simply made stuff. They were not funded by arts councils or producing these objects as part of a design brief established by a corporation. These objects were made for the joy of making and that was that. That’s a bit revolutionary I mused with a wry smile …
But seriously I think many of these objects are a form of folk digital craft and should not be dismissed so easily (as I did while searching out ‘new media’) as their role within the sims add texture to the experience of a ‘second life’ which could be pretty shallow otherwise. There are constant surprises as you turn a corner and discover another. Whether the artist writes up a ‘proper’ bio or not, takes what they do seriously or not, these objects do perform a role in this virtual world and as such could be seen as a digital folk craft. What do you think?
Screen shots taken on Butterfly Island (135, 162, 25)
Title: Flower Fountain
Creator: Damanious Thetan
May 6, 2007
Podcasts of the plenary sessions at the MIT5 the fifth Media in Transition conference are now available as well as abstracts and papers.
This conference was simulcast in, Second Life. Although there were apparently technical issues that caused some problems when I read about this event in Second Life, it made me sit up and take notice. Up until a few evenings ago I had not really paid much attention to this ‘world’ but it is an interesting place. Unfortunately I missed the conference in Second Life but I am certainly going to keep an eye on what is happening there.
I was particularly interested in the first session of the conference Folk Cultures and Digital Cultures
Digital visionaries such as Yochai Benkler have described the emergence of a new networked culture in which participants with differing intentions and professional credentials co-exist and cooperate in a complex media ecology. Are we witnessing the appearance of a new or revitalized folk culture? Are there older traditions and practices from print culture or oral societies that resemble these emerging digital practices? What sort of amateur or grassroots creativity have been studied or documented by literary scholars, anthropologists, and students of folklore? How were creativity and collaboration understood in earlier cultures? Are there lessons or cautions for digital culture in the near or distant past?
May 5, 2007